Axial and limb muscle development: dialogue with the neighbourhood
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Skeletal muscles are part of the musculoskeletal system which also includes nerves, tendons, connective tissue, bones and blood vessels. Here we review the development of axial and limb muscles in amniotes within the context of their surrounding tissues in vivo. We highlight the reciprocal dialogue mediated by signalling factors between cells of these adjacent tissues and developing muscles and also demonstrate its importance from the onset of muscle cell differentiation well into foetal development. Early embryonic tissues secrete factors which are important regulators of myogenesis. However, later muscle development relies on other tissue collaborators, such as developing nerves and connective tissue, which are in turn influenced by the developing muscles themselves. We conclude that skeletal muscle development in vivo is a compelling example of the importance of reciprocal interactions between developing tissues for the complete and coordinated development of a functional system.